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TJNCJ
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2008
Location:
Posts: 166

Scott,

Great letter, I agree on most points completely.

As for ice clinics in Wisconsin, the closest thing to a clinic I have seen in the Dairy State is curling at Clintonville Men's and trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible from Mr. Williamson.


TJ

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Old Post 04-17-12 02:10PM
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spiroth
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 16

I simply do not believe that our participation in the Olympics is in any jeopardy. Our teams consistently finish in the middle of the pack in World Championships. Is anyone suggesting that we wouldn't send teams to the Olympics (when we have qualified for spots) just because the USOC is unhappy with the USCA? Considering the television ratings that we get, I think that the television networks would have something to say about this.

The USOC, and perhaps some in the USCA, seem to believe the ridiculous idea that some "high performance plan" will result in medals. In the end, however, it is still just going to be 8 curlers who might have a bad week. The way to have high performance curlers in the U.S. is to grow the sport and have more curlers period. If there were 100,000 curlers in the U.S., the level of competition would increase and the medals would come. The problem is that growing the sport so that there are a 100,000 U.S. curlers is a project that would take a generation and doesn't do much good for 2014.

I don't think that 52% growth is all that impressive because we are starting from such a miniscule base. Every U.S. city with 100,000 people and any type of ice sports culture at all could support a curling club if we could identify people out there who could do the work and if there were a serious strategy to make it happen.

Scott

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Old Post 04-17-12 03:45PM
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AK267
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Oct 2002
Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1544

Re: Incidentally.....

quote:
Originally posted by VanillaIce
CurlNY,

Incidentally, I think you may be hearing something on the TV front as well. I just hope we aren't shooting ourselves in the foot with this vote.

A little more patience and a little less fear would go a long way!

JB





Hmmmmm...."TV"....as in internet TV, or real TV???

__________________
Visit The AKCA Website!!!
http://sites.google.com/site/aksarbencurlingclub/

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GloveTopShelf
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: May 2007
Location:
Posts: 28

quote:
Originally posted by spiroth
I simply do not believe that our participation in the Olympics is in any jeopardy. Our teams consistently finish in the middle of the pack in World Championships. Is anyone suggesting that we wouldn't send teams to the Olympics (when we have qualified for spots) just because the USOC is unhappy with the USCA? Considering the television ratings that we get, I think that the television networks would have something to say about this.

The USOC, and perhaps some in the USCA, seem to believe the ridiculous idea that some "high performance plan" will result in medals. In the end, however, it is still just going to be 8 curlers who might have a bad week. The way to have high performance curlers in the U.S. is to grow the sport and have more curlers period. If there were 100,000 curlers in the U.S., the level of competition would increase and the medals would come. The problem is that growing the sport so that there are a 100,000 U.S. curlers is a project that would take a generation and doesn't do much good for 2014.

I don't think that 52% growth is all that impressive because we are starting from such a miniscule base. Every U.S. city with 100,000 people and any type of ice sports culture at all could support a curling club if we could identify people out there who could do the work and if there were a serious strategy to make it happen.

Scott



Wow! Sorry Scott but you're very wrong.

At the going rate, the USA will miss the Olympic in 2014, or more likely 2018. They might be able to squeak into the event this year, but chances are good they'll need to play in the challenge event. Had McCormick lost the last game, their spot in the Olympics would have certainly been in jeopardy. Luckily one win on their last shot and they wont have to make miracles happen next year to make sure we get a spot. Another "middle of the pack" finish will squeak them in. To go get destroy in Russia. Since when is this "happy to be there" attitude good enough in American sport?

Everyone else is getting better, and the lack of high performance attitude is leaving the USA teams stagnant.

So USA Curling would have grown 50% without TV and Olympic exposure?

It's sad (but expected) that the attitudes the direct curling in this country have their heads buried so deep in the sand.

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spiroth
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 16

This "winning is everything" mentality is not what curling is about. I appreciate the importance of the Olympics as a means to attract new curlers, but I really don't care much whether or not we win medals. I measure the health of the sport by the number of curlers and dedicated facilities that we have - not by medals. The only way that there would be no Olympic television coverage at all is if neither the men's or the women's teams qualified. I still see this as very, very unlikely.

I also doubt that these silly high performance plans will have any effect one way or another. Did Glenn Howard win the world championship because of a CCA plan? I don't think so. He won because he has been curling his entire life against top notch competition.

I want the USCA to stop chasing shiny objects and start dedicating 99.9% of its efforts toward grassroots curling.

Scott

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Old Post 04-18-12 08:15AM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

USCA

Scott, you are exactly right the USCA should put all their efforts into growing the sport in ( Da Good Ole USA ) problem is USOC has all the money. So in the mean time the USCA is irrelevent ( or close too ) without the USOC. Can the two find a happy place with medals (USOC) and growth (USCA) Yes!

A former curler asked me the other day Bill, in your opinion, who are the top 4 mens curlers in the US. I quickly responded, McCormick, Fenson, George and Brownie. He looked at me and said, " I suggest there my friend is your Olympic Team"

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Old Post 04-18-12 11:38AM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 127

Exposure...

Scott,

the name of the game is exposure! Exposure is everything! In other words, finding a way to get the sport in front of as many people as possible. The Olympic games have been an effective way for us to do that in this country. The exposure has created demand for more ice. More ice has initially come in the form of many very successful arena clubs. Out of those arena clubs we are just now seeing permanent facilities being built and considered in many areas. For many, the viability of a permanent facility comes down to what they believe they can sustain in membership. Another dose of Olympic exposure and other possible TV events will likely tip the scale. As you point out, this is no short term process.

Could we achieve this level of exposure a different way? Of course. But at what expense? And where does that money come from?

Let's assume the worst here. The governance change is not passed. The USOC dramatically reduces or eliminates funding of our HP programs. Gone are funds to support teams shooting for worlds and Olympics (youth and adult), gone are funds to support Ice making, gone are funds to continue building sport education and coaching. Does that mean that we don't make the 2014 games. Not necessarily. But for arguments sake, let's say the women do and the men don't. Not awful, but it likely means half of the coverage we likely would have gotten. What are the immediate impacts? Less interest? Less demand? Arena clubs stop growing? New facility planning ending? Perhaps some...perhaps all. The point being that the current representative system of the USCA set us on this path years ago....exposure=growth. Find another way to get the kind of interest and exposure that we've seen from the Olympics and I will applaud your efforts.

On the point of High Performance Plans, you are dead wrong! At the elite level of any sport, you will find athletes going the extra mile and using any sort of information, training, and tools to gain an edge. That's what it is all about. When we speak of Howard, Martin, Stoughton, Edin, Ulsrud, Brewster, Murdoch, and the like....they are all doing High Performance work. If you think differently, you're mistaken. They study in great detail their strengths and weaknesses and work hard outside of actually playing games to shore up those weaknesses. Simply playing better teams will help, but it is NOT the only answer. As long as we're on the topic, can we please STOP comparing ourselves to Canada! Emulate their best talent? Yes. Copy how they get it? Not possible right now.

But this thread is not about High Performance...at least not in and of itself. It is about connecting the dots between...Exposure...Olympics...High Performance...USOC...USCA...Growth. These things are all a tightly woven process.

As I have said, I will grant you the organization could do MORE WITH THE GROWTH by creating better and stronger programs to support clubs and educate, but I know we are on that path! And I know that this governance change will only make that path a more efficient one! It is the answer to all of your questions.

Insanity - Continuing to do things in the same way, and expecting different results.

At this point, I am going to bow out of the discussion and save my words for the meeting. It may be futile at this point, but I will not quit trying to help the game grow and move forward in this country.

Hope to see you all at the meeting or on the ice!
John Benton

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Old Post 04-18-12 11:39AM
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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

I think that the USCA may be a bit out of touch with it's membership. Scott's comment's are spot on and I feel represent the majority of US curlers. I have tried conveyed the same message on this blog (Scott is just a better writer).

The USOC needs curling and curlers. TV ratings and pressure for medals dictate that the US have one good women's team and one good men's team. That's all the USOC needs or cares about. I wish the USCA would worry less about the Olympics and more about curling clubs.

Nilla has asked what club's want, but has not been given an answer about what club's really want. I think on this blog we have heard a few. (ice clinics, coaching clinics, training clinics). I have a friend that called the USCA office about getting help to start club in a Wisconsin. He was told to find some rocks and call when he got them. (It is my understanding that the individual he contacted is no longer working in the USCA office). That's not the message the USCA should be sending.

With the amount of money that our club sends to the USCA every year, we could bring in our own ice makers, athletes, and coaches for weekend trainings.

Having said that. That is not the way it should be. I would much rather give the money to the USCA and let them make the most effiecient use of those monies to develop top notch programs that benefit the most curlers.

I'll say it again let the USOC worry about the highest level curling. They need us anyway. We will still reap the benefits from the Olympics Let the USCA focus on club curling.

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Old Post 04-18-12 11:57AM
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curlny
Hitting Paint

Registered: Dec 2005
Location:
Posts: 165

Nilla is absolutely right about exposure.

Frankly, that is the only thing that I can think of that our club needs from the USCA. I think that curling growth across the country needs nothing but increased exposure.

I am heartened to hear that there is potential for more, if Nilla is right in his prediction.

I am sure I will create a ruckus by suggesting that perhaps the center of the US curling universe should be shifted to a media center.
Maybe a training facility in Chicago, NY or Boston, or an annual USCA Invitational Cashspiel?

No offense to many fine states in the US, but no way the nationals should ever be held anywhere but near a media center.

If we want more people involved in our sport, we need to bring the sport to where the people are.
I only wish I had useful ideas on how exactly to accomplish that.

__________________
JL

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Old Post 04-18-12 12:34PM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

Tuck?

He starts this thread then stays out of it? My parents always told me my greatest accomplishment was marrying a North Dakotan, they we're Right.

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Old Post 04-18-12 01:30PM
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spiroth
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Apr 2012
Location:
Posts: 16

Exposure is just the first step

I will not comment on the high performance plan anymore. Maybe it's a great idea. I'm in no position to judge.

There have been other things written that I really think are misguided. When people see curling on television and want to try it, someone needs to teach them the basics. When they want to join a club, there has to be a club to join. When a club wants to build a facility, people need to raise the money and do the work.

I have given thousands of people their first curling lesson - including a least half of the current members of my club. The club probably would no longer exist without my efforts. I taught Craig Fisher how to curl and he later went out and started a brand-new arena club in Fort Wayne. My friends in Columbus have performed thousands of hours of hard labor to have a facility with dedicated ice. There are hundreds of people like me who are essential to translate television exposure into actual growing clubs. Where do we fit in this picture? What is the USCA doing for us?

I want the USCA to help me. I want to learn the best instruction techniques so that I can get our novice curlers to the point where they are confident on the ice. I want to improve the quality of play in our club. I want our volunteer ice makers to have the training they need to make our ice better. I want people to have the information they need to get dedicated facilities built.

Don't tell me that these things are going to trickle down from television exposure or from high performance curlers. It isn't happening.

Don't try to sell us books about curling techniques. Train the instructors to provide the only kind of instruction that works (one-on-one instructing with a trained instructor).

Don't act like the end of USOC funding is the end of the world. We pay a lot of money in dues. Start spending that money on grass roots curling.

I think that the proposed governance changes are a transparent attempt to ensure that the USCA can never do anything that the USOC doesn't like. I oppose them on their merits; however, I also see defeating these by-laws as a last desperate attempt to get the leadership of the USCA to start paying attention to us. We are near a tipping point. If things don't start to change, I am sure that you will see clubs leave the USCA.

Scott

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Curlrock
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Feb 2011
Location:
Posts: 66

There is no need for me to write anymore on this topic . Scott's thoughts and ideas are consistent with mine as well as most of the curlers I have talked too.

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Old Post 04-18-12 04:01PM
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tuck
Super Rockchucker

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
Posts: 1908

I'm still around. I check this thread every day. Farming is starting to roll and planting has begun, so time is more limited.

It is a very BIG picture that we are looking at in this thread. It is the BIG picture that comes to view when discussing the Goverance Changes. One can boil it down to our very philosophy and mission.

Or one can get bogged down in details. The devil is always in the details and the official proposal is no different.

So let me start with my prediction:

I predict that the changes to the Bylaws will narrowly fail. I further predict that some leadership will surface to bring the main concerns of the deccentors into the proposal. Then, with the heat on from losing NGB status and a million bucks a year, somebody will do a trial budget for the USCA and it won't look pretty. Finally, people will actual listen to eachother and a compromise will pass in the fall...maybe earlier with a special meeting. Lastly, I predict that Willy will turn every thread into handpicking an Olympic team until I explode and tell him what I really think on the issue.

Next, here are my thoughts:

Losing NGB status is too important to be stupid and mess around. The Goverance proposal should pass. Should the current AAC become the new NGB, they will take all the Olympic monies for themselves. Then where will ice clinics and club help and increased coverage come from? The answer is in the money. Do the budgets. The answers become obvious.

Finally, here is my gripe:

Smart people who LOVE curling wrote this proposal. Smart people who LOVE curling looked at it and hated it right from the start...many months ago. All of these smart people started agruing about it and positioning to defeat it or to pass it. For stupid. Neither side really listened to the other. Neither side looked to amend and compromise. Meetings were held and discussions ensued, but no listening took place...no compromise...no real concern for the other point of view...no real listening but only arguing.

So I suggest that we pass it and fix the details as soon as possible. These are high stakes.

Ben Tucker
Goverance is important, but not the part of curling that I love

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Old Post 04-18-12 08:45PM
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hit-n-roll
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Sep 2002
Location: Rio, Wisconsin
Posts: 73

Great discussion, folks! I haven't been very active on this site in recent years, but this thread caught my attention. Forgive the rambling I'm about to do, but I just want to give my take on three important topics brought up here--governance reform, competitive programs, and growth.

GOVERNANCE REFORM: I wonder if discussion like this forum takes place at USCA board meetings. Are the directors in touch with the common curler or small club? What is the demographic of our board members? I was at the Wisconsin region meeting recently where the governance proposal was soundly defeated. Two major complaints were the complexity of the proposed new structure and the overlooked caveat that members would give up the ability to initiate by-law changes in the future. In other words, there ain't no going back! Look before you leap! There are a lot of GREAT ideas in the proposal that can be implemented WITHOUT giving all the power over the future of the organization to the board. In fact, the whole thing may have had a chance to pass in Wisconsin if the changes to by-law intiation were not included. The very fact that even though the USCA board passed the proposal last fall, the MEMBERS are required to pass by-law changes, causing the regions to debate and individually vote is a GOOD thing and should not be given up for any reason! Curiously though, it sounds like not every region is taking a vote on this prior to the USCA members' meeting this weekend. Are you voting on this Minnesota???

COMPETITIVE PROGRAM: Hand-pick a team if you want and fund them to the hilt, but please don't take away our open playdown process! Time and time again the hand-picked squads don't win. What we've been saying for years is we really need a team to play on tour in Canada FULL TIME! I'm not talking about one or two weekends. Look at how hard a team like Mike McEwen or Brad Gushue goes at it. We've not had a men's team go after it that hard in the last 15 years that I'm aware of. Kudos to some of our women's teams though. I think they do a better job of that the men for whatever reason. This of course takes time and money. I'm not sure how much money funded teams are getting, but if it's not enough to send them on tour in Canada full time, then I say bring back the program that Bill Todhunter came up with in 2006/07 where ANY team that is willing to commit to play in Canada X number of weekends is eligible for a share of funding. My team, which was a new team that year, took advantage of the program and received enough funding to attend three Canadian tour events. It was the best training schedule for any team I've ever been apart of. We made it to Nationals with a rookie skip (me) and a 17 year old rookie vice. Todd Birr's team also took advantage of the program and won Nationals that year and a bronze medal at Worlds. That program was cancelled after one year. Does this make sense? Finally it appeared we were on to something, but I digress. If we are getting hundreds of thousands from the USOC, why can we not afford to send a team to Canada on tour full time? Where is the money going? Staff? If so, I think that's misguided.

GROWTH: I've often thought the only way this is going to happen is for an enterprising person to come up with a business model to run a curling facility for profit like a bowling center. Good old free-market capitalism at work. One would think a loan from the WCF might make sense for this type of project, or a group of forward-thinking investors friendly to the sport? If one facility could be built this way and be viable, imagine the possibilities! There must already be dozens of markets out there begging for dedicated ice. Are there any examples of this anywhere in the world? I know Arnie Asham tried this one year in Winnipeg with a club that was already going under--probably not a good test case. I think M-15 built a new club in Finland with some form of this model, but I'm not certain of the details. Anyone know how that worked out?

Whew! It's waaayyy past my bedtime, but I'm glad I took the time to get this all out. I just want to end with the statement that I complete respect everyone's opinion on these topics and appreciate the time and effort we all put into this great sport. I see amazing things in our collective future!

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Old Post 04-19-12 02:11AM
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biterbar
Hitting Paint

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
Posts: 148

If I am not mistaken, there is a for profit curling club going up in the Twin Cities area currently.

So our only medal in the mens worlds in twenty years came after Canadian tour funding and it was dropped the next year?

As a side note, what happened to the "Expansion" thread that was on here and has now disappearsd?

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Old Post 04-19-12 08:17AM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

Great Posts- Except Tucks

Tuck, I personally want to see you explode! Red Potatoe's everywhere ( added the e for my good friend Dan Quail).

The USCA has had years to develope funding, and hasn't. We had no money untill the USOC came in to town. Let the professionals pick the Professionals, and hand pick ( sorry Tuck) our team,. Only dedicated to Curling. And Yes keep the trials open to a limited number of qualified teams, but use a round robin format ( what if Fenson beats McCormick? McCormick won 2 out of 3 and lost one game in 19 and he's out ).
When I was a much younger lad I would have spit on myself for wanting a hand selected Team. Don't kill my Dream. But as the Great Abe Lincoln said " I am smarter today than I was yesterday" Don't kill anyone's dream, but seperate the Olympics from regular curling. And grow our sport from with-in but, also allow the money to do its job which is to medal. Just my stupid arsh opinion.

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Old Post 04-19-12 08:26AM
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mr. lucky
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Nov 2007
Location:
Posts: 99

What was the “expansion” thread about?

I’m starting to wonder about the moderator’s stake in this. I had a post in a previous thread that called out Scott Higgins. The reference to Higgins was removed. When I discovered the edit, I changed it back and it remains as my original post.

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Old Post 04-19-12 01:06PM
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biterbar
Hitting Paint

Registered: Mar 2009
Location:
Posts: 148

Actually I think it was "Exposure". Scott Spiroth started it I believe. How to get curling exposed to more people.

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Old Post 04-19-12 01:20PM
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VAcurler
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Jan 2012
Location:
Posts: 52

why not both

If a hand picked team is either the end of curling or the only hope for a medal, why not try both?

A year from now there will be 4 teams that qualify for the Olympic team playdown. That means there will be 50+ curlers that made it to Nationals but aren't invited to the Olympic party. Why not take those players that are interested, put them through a camp and build a hand picked team. Give them a couple chances to play and and invite them to the Olympic playdowns.

If the USCA can put together a better team than McCormick or Fenson (plus 2), they'll have a chance to prove it on the ice.

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Old Post 04-19-12 02:06PM
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chapnlie
Swing Artist

Registered: Jan 2005
Location:
Posts: 267

I have little interest in Olympic medals being the end-all focus of US Curling. Ran across the following in an article in The Windsor Star about former world champs Blake MacDonald and Scott Pfeifer hooking up for the following season in which Blake MacDonald echoed my sentiments quite well.

“There’s a whole different mission statement with this team,” said MacDonald, who served as the fifth man for Koe’s Alberta champion team at the Brier last month but barely threw a rock during the season. “The reality is that curling used to be a really fun sport, where four good friends could get together and you’d be competitive when you wanted to be, but it wasn’t the end-all, be-all. I think curling has kind of lost its way there, so this is our attempt to say this is what we used to love about the game, so why can’t we just do it and not have to worry about Olympic points?"

Some food for thought...
Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/sports/M...770/story.html.

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Old Post 04-20-12 10:31AM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

MacDonald

The guy barely thru a rock of course he didn't have any Fun. Local bonspeils are for 4 friends having fun. Olympics and Worlds are for the professionals. " we could be competitive when we wanted to be" That chapnlie might be the stupidest quote in the history of curling. I say good luck to B-Mac and Pfeifer have fun and enjoy, and Oh Yea be competitive when you feel like it??

P.S. MacDonald is off my list of Canadians I want to hire for our Olympic Team.

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Old Post 04-20-12 11:40AM
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chapnlie
Swing Artist

Registered: Jan 2005
Location:
Posts: 267

Willy, I think you totally missed the point.
And I guess I missed the vote which decided that Olympic medals must be the sole focus of the USCA and US curling.

You have about a dozen posters here interested in the Olympic selection process. 99.9% of the USCA membership could give a crap, yet you and too many others think it should be the sole focus of the USCA. The Olympic publicity has been great for growing the sport, but I don't think that warrants the level of emphasis you place on the subject.

Problem I have with hand-picked teams is they never seem to focus on team chemistry, which no team can win without. Geez, many posters here were willing to hand the US title to the Tyler George rink when they got together. Great team on paper, but what happened when it really counted?

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Old Post 04-20-12 04:29PM
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Willy
Drawmaster

Registered: Dec 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 592

Olympic selection

Let the USOC do what it does, which is run Olympic Trials ( Individual in every other sport) and select and FUND an Olympic team ,that gives us our best chance for medals. ( Did I mention they have all the money). Let the USCA do what it does, which is promote our great game and grow it for that 99.9% of the curlers. Has the USCA done that job?? That is a question curlers have to answer for themselves.

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Old Post 04-20-12 05:15PM
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Deez
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Dec 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 73

The word on the street is the Bylaw Changes did not pass, by apparently a wide margin. Rumor also has it the meeting got all sorts of ugly afterwords. So, whats the next step?

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Old Post 04-22-12 11:59AM
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VanillaIce
Hitting Paint

Registered: Nov 2005
Location: St. Michael, MN USA
Posts: 127

Tabled....

The vote was tabled pending further discussion. While many issues are yet to be resolved, progress was made and everyone agrees that a change of this nature is warranted for many reasons. Some that go well beyond our relationship with the USOC. Again, I encourage you all to ask for the facts and help move the process forward.

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Old Post 04-22-12 12:34PM
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